You became a personal trainer because you love helping people just as much as you love working out and this is really a great thing. As America is dealing with an obesity problem you shouldn't run out of clients to train any time soon; however, most personal trainers don't make more than $30,000 a year. That is because most trainers will work for corporate gyms such as LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, or Bally's Fitness. These gyms charge the members hundreds of dollars a month for training and pay the trainers 10% if their lucky. That's no way to make a living, so many trainers go into business for them self; unfortunately most fail creating a thriving business and end up having to get a new job or at least a second job. Here I will give you some tips on creating a personal training business based on experience so you can avoid some of the many mistakes that I have made myself.
When start your personal training business you have many options as far as how and where you would like to serve your clients (in your home training, in client's homes, in a studio, outside). You also need to come up with a niche market (your ideal client) for your training business. I know this may seem strange at first and you may want to train everyone and anyone you can get, but you need to training only the people who you like being around and who also have the goals for which you specialize in (weight loss, muscle-building, cross fit, bodybuilding, sports performance). You want to establish yourself as an expert so that any person in your niche market will know to come to you if they want to get the best results. So before you do anything else sit down and think about who you love to train and where you will train them.
Note: I will be using the example of training in a studio as this is what I have done.
To get started in a studio you need to find some studios close to where you live and check them out to make sure they are nice facilities with all the equipment you need to train your clients. Make sure that it is in a good location (near a busy road/shopping center with lots of people passing by). Talk to the owner to discuss how the rent works for trainers working in their facilities. Some take a percentage of what you make and other just charge a flat monthly fee. If they don't just take a percentage and you don't have the money saved up to shell out until you have a large client base then make sure to use these steps to make a business plan to show them. If you have a plan on how to create business and gain clients then they might be willing to reduce your rent for the first two or three months while you get things going.
Once you have decided who you will train and where you are going to train them it is time to start getting clients. Depending on who your niche market is you need to go to places where those people hang out (I'm in the weight loss of busy average people niche so a lot of the population fits my market). Go to hair salons, tanning studios, health food stores to find people who care about how they look, but might not necessarily be truly happy with how they look. Talk to everyone and find out if they are happy with their bodies (most are not) and what kind of fitness goals they have. Let them know you are a trainer and you would love for them to come down for a free week to see what your training is like. If they are interested in training ALWAYS get their contact info and you can give them yours as well if you want.
In order to maximize your profits you should be offering small group training (2-4 people) or bootcamps. When you get some people to come in make sure you over deliver on your service. Make the workouts challenging, but fun, talk with them as well as motivate them and have a ton of energy. This will make them feel good and more likely to continue to train with you
Make sure to not wait until the end of their free week to try to sell your services to them. You want to do this after the first day or two. Sit them down and make their emotions come out about how they normally feel about themselves and how they have felt while training with you (Warning: I'm not a sales expert, but I notice when people have their emotions come out they are more likely to make the change and sign up). You should be able to get a few people this way and then get them on a 12 month contract. Tell them to bring in their friends or family for a free week. If your clients are happy with your services they will be happy to do this, and they will also give a great sales pitch to their friends for you.
Once you have some clients ask if any work in an office and if so go to their work and have them introduce you as their trainer. Talk to these people and find out if they are interested in losing weight, then tell them you are having a special 21-day Fat Loss Challenge at a discounted rate of $67. They can come in 3 times a week at certain time slots and the person who loses the most body fat gets a free month of training. You may get 20 people to sign up but only half will actually show, but that's ok because that's still 10 people each paying $67 for 9 sessions with you and you are doing group training or bootcamps so you can get through all of them in less than 2 hours.
When they get their on the first day have them sign the legal forms along with a contact stating that if they were to continue which plan would they like to go onto (make sure to get credit card info to auto debit them). Tell them that at the end of the 21 day challenge that they will be billing and started on that program, but if they decide they don't like to training before than to just e-mail you and you will cancel the contract no questions asked. You can expect to get about half of the people who showed up to the training to actually stay signed up on a contract.
Repeat this process to continue gaining new clients. You can continue to go to places that people work at, along with the places you went to get your first few clients. Also hold referral contests with your current clients and offer them and incentive. I like to give them 2 weeks of free training for every person they refer that signs up for a contract along with $50 of their dues. This usually gets some people to refer a lot of people and others to not really bring anyone in.
The process of starting a personal training business is not easy or quick, but if you stay focused you can do it. When you start getting a lot of clients you can hire trainers to train your clients and that gives you more time to focus on marketing and bringing in more business. Like I said bring the best service you can along with staying focused and I know you can your own personal training business come alive. Good Luck!